Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Key has shares for “cash rich” iwi

Prime Minister John Key says he's anticipating strong Maori interest in buying into state assets.

Mr Key says the mixed ownership model National is proposing for Air New Zealand, the state power generators and Solid Energy is different than the privatisations of the 1980s and 90s.
He says Maori can participate as individual investors, through their Kiwisaver accounts and through their tribal organisations.

“There are ultimately opportunities potentially for iwi to invest. We know there are some cash-rich iwi that do want to invest,” Mr Key says.

He says because of the different nature of the assets, it's unlikely the sell-down of the Crown stake will lead to the job losses that happened when rail, forests and other departments were privatised.

IWI LEADERS KEEN TO TALK ASSETS WITH PM

Waikato Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan says iwi leaders gathering in Waitangi this weekend are looking forward to talking with John Key about asset sales.

Mr Morgan says the Prime Minister and senior ministers are booked in to attend a session of the Iwi Leaders Forum.

They'll be told Maori are better owners of state assets than ordinary mums and dads ... because as well as buying shares, mums and dads also sell.

“And this is about saying to them, we want to line up, we don’t expect any discounted prices but actually we’re a much more dependable investor for and on behalf of this country. We’re in there for the long term,” Mr Morgan says.

He says iwi investment will stop large stakes in New Zealand's core infrastructure falling into overseas hands.

YOUNG MAORI SIGNING UP FOR GAMBLING HELP

The Problem Gambling Foundation says it's seeing increasing numbers of young Maori asking for help with their addiction.

Tony Milne, the foundation's public health practice leader, says more than 10 percent of new clients last year were under the age of 25, and almost a quarter of those were Maori.

He says they have similar issues to older gamblers.

“We've seen an increase Internet gambling but it’s still quite small in relation to the number of young people seeing help because of pokie addictions. We call pokie machines the crack cocaine of gambling because they're so addictive,” Mr Milne says.

LABOUR COMMITTED TO PICKING UP MAORI SEATS

Labour leader Phil Goff says the party is looking to win the Maori seats rather than look towards the Maori Party as a potential coalition partner.

A Te Karere-Digipoll out today found 36.9 percent of Maori voters would vote for Labour, with the Maori Party almost level on 36.2 percent.

Only 25 percent said Mr Goff was the best person to lead the Labour Party, compared with 36 percent a year ago, and only 6.4 percent of Maori wanted him as their Prime Minister.

Mr Goff says the party has always stood up for the rights of Maori workers.

“The Maori electorates will make their decision when they vote and we will accept their decision of the electorate and we’ll work out a coalition to govern this country after November of this year and we’ll look at working with anyone that stands up for the same principles as we do and stands up for New Zealanders,” Mr Goff says.

KEY DEFENDS WORK OF MAORI PARTY LEADERS

As the Maori Party struggles to discipline maverick MP Hone Harawira for criticising its continuing support for the National-led government, Prime Minister John Key is praising the party's leaders.

He says Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have worked hard to advance Maori interests.

“They're great people. They work hard. They’re reliable. They don’t get everything they want. They try really hard to get a lot but I don’t get everything I want and I’m prime minister and that’s just the way it works. Government is ultimately always about compromise but have they made progress? The answer is absolutely on many fronts and I think they’ve done a fine job. They’ve been good ministers,” Mr Key says.

He says it is up to the Maori Party to sort out its internal issues without interference from National.

CLAIM LODGED OVER STATE OF LAKE HOROWHENUA

A Muaupoko man is asking the Waitangi Tribunal Claim to establish who has the right to oversee Lake Horowhenua.

Phillip Taueki says the shallow lake on the western edge of Levin is in a deplorable condition after decades of mismanagement.

He says what was once a major food basket of the Muaupoko people is now unusable.

As well as his tribunal claim, Mr Taueki says he will ask Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to investigate the status and management of the lake.

“I blame all the parties for the state our lake is in and that includes the lake trustees, the domain board, the local council and Horizons (regional council). There’s been leadership problems within Muaupoko, for whatever reason, the lake is a disgrace and it’s a disgrace on us all,” Mr Taueki says.

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